Isabella Chow is a student senator at University of California—Berkeley. She’s been labeled as a “horrible person” and a “mental imbecile” by her peers. Hundreds are petitioning for her to resign from student government or be recalled. Her political party has cut all ties with her. Berkeley’s student newspaper happily published an editorial critical of Isabella—yet refused to publish her defense. Isabella is majoring in business administration and music—yet the school cancelled her piano recital, claiming that everyone was afraid of protesters showing up at the door. Isabella also shared with us that she tries to walk to class or other campus appointments with friends because of the protests against her.
Why? What did Isabella do that was so terrible to warrant such contempt from the entire Berkeley system?
She lovingly shared her faith.
At the behest of the Queer Alliance Resource Center, UC Berkeley’s 20-member student senate passed a Resolution condemning the Trump Administration for working to define “sex” in federal law as a person’s biological sex—which would fix the Obama Administration’s unlawful decision to define “sex” in the law as including “gender identity.” The Berkeley student senate believes the Trump Administration is “discriminating” against people who identify as transgender. On October 31, the Resolution passed with 18 yay votes, 1 absence, and 1 abstention.
The abstaining vote was cast by Isabella Chow.
As she cast her abstention, Isabella read a beautifully written statement sharing the love of Christ with everyone listening and the priceless value of each individual, particularly those in the LGBT community. Isabella poignantly condemned hate, bigotry, and bullies. At the same time, she stood firmly, yet compassionately, for truth, saying, “I cannot vote for this bill without compromising my values. . . I believe that God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman.” She went on to say it was not love to silently concur with the choices of others that she believed with all her heart were harmful.
A Hero for Faith
Isabella shared with us that the intense backlash she faces every day for simply and lovingly explaining why she abstained from voting has indeed been surprising. Her life on campus will most certainly never be the same.
Yet, Isabella also shared that she’s been encouraged by the media coverage of her story outside of what she calls the “Berkeley bubble.” She’s been deeply touched by the encouragement and support she’s received.
In America, Christ-followers hunger for someone who will stand for Truth, someone who’s not ashamed of the Gospel—someone who’s willing to face the political and social pressure for the sake of their Savior.
Isabella became such a hero for faith through her humble and loving explanation—and by not voting for a bill that would violate her conscience. At Family Policy Alliance®, we call this “biblical citizenship.” And we are proud to see someone so young—on an extremely liberal American college campus—unleashing biblical citizenship in such a way!
Isabella’s Message to You and Me
We asked Isabella what she would tell other people of faith facing similar pressure to stay silent. Her answer reflected the deep wisdom she has.
She shared that she didn’t go around campus “trumpeting her beliefs,” but when she faced a decision that she considered to be “moral with a direct implication on what [she] believed,” it was time to take a stand. She also knows it’s important for people of faith to “have the right heart” when they share their beliefs or take a stand—so that our actions are done in love.
She also shared how important it has been to pray in these situations—and how important the prayers of others have been.
Share a Message with Isabella
Will you take a moment to send a message of encouragement or prayer to Isabella? Please let her know how proud you are that she lived out true biblical citizenship!